Lessons Learnt on the Track


Final-year Accountancy student Wisely Tan and fellow athletes from SIT were recognised for their sporting contributions at the university’s Sports Appreciation Night 2022.


Wisely Tan (standing, 2nd from left) with SIT Track & Field teammates at SUniG (Singapore University Games) Road Race 2022. (SIT Photo: Wisely Tan) 

For Wisely Tan Liang Hong, Team Captain of the SIT Track & Field team, winning the Outstanding Team (Event Sport) Award was a great milestone for an exciting athletic journey that has spanned over nine years.

An avid sports lover, Wisely has always been involved in sports in one way or another. However, it was only at the age of 17 that he first seriously considered becoming a track athlete. His beginning, however, was far from ideal: he failed to qualify in his first-ever sprint tryout.

“I thought I was fast, but there were so many others faster than me,” shares Wisely.

Fortunately, he persevered and eventually found his calling in distance running. Since then, he has represented schools and clubs at various local and international sporting meets. As a testament to his sporting prowess, he has picked up various medals (two Golds, one Silver and one Bronze) during his time at SIT.

Shaping His Life Outside the Track

To reach his level of proficiency as an athlete, Wisely spends much of his time training – at least two hours each day. Off the track, however, Wisely is equally devoted to his accountancy studies.

He explains: “We all have the same amount of time – 24 hours each day. If I am going to spend two hours a day training, I will need to put in two hours a day studying as well. You can’t expect to do well if you are not consistent or only train or study at the last minute.”

Today, his discipline and work ethic has paid dividends, having secured a position as an International Tax Advisor at one of the Big 4 accounting firms, even before officially graduating.

Wisely Tan - Cover image

Whether on the track or in the classroom, Wisely believes in putting in the hours to maximise his chances for success. (Photo: SGrunningpictures) 

While his strategy has proven effective, Wisely shares that the path he has chosen is far from easy and numerous sacrifices had to be made. “I have to train every day whether I feel like it or not, and I also have less time to spend with friends.”

What keeps him going, however, is the greater satisfaction he gets from knowing that he has put in his very best. In this respect, Wisely recognises the role that sports contributed to his ’always try your best‘ mindset.

“Being an athlete has given me a very realistic outlook on life. You can’t win every race, and you can’t do every exam well, but your efforts can affect your chances for success. I have learnt to recognise what I can control and can’t. For instance, for my work attachment, I may not know how good my appraisal is, but at least I know no one can say I haven’t done my best.”

Maturity Beyond His Years

The maturity that Wisely exhibits comes from his personal life experiences and the obstacles he has had to overcome.

Wisely shares that in 2016, he contracted an illness that almost ended not only his sporting career, but his very life. After experiencing severe pains and discovering that his entire right shin had turned black, Wisely promptly rushed to the hospital. Doctors eventually diagnosed him with Osteomyselitis – a rare but severe bone infection, coupled with sepsis and a bacterial liver abscess.


After overcoming an illness which almost cost him his leg in 2016, Wisely managed to bounce back and return to competitive-level running. (SIT Photo: Charisse Thong) 

He ended up spending 31 days in the hospital, where he underwent multiple surgeries to remove infected flesh, blood and bone. He also had to undergo a skin graft. In total, he lost 15 kg and was in a wheelchair and crutches for many months after.

“Having almost lost my leg, doctors were uncertain if I would ever be able to return to sports. I was pretty depressed and had to undergo months of rehabilitation and counselling. Eventually, I came to the realisation that even if I could not fully control my recovery outcome, I could at least try. To me, attributing things only externally is not taking responsibility for your life. I realised I did not want to live a life of ‘what-ifs’.”

Amazingly, Wisely bounced back from the episode.


Wisely (extreme left, holding flag) with his Track & Field teammates at SIT. He has learnt the value of community and the importance of supporting one another, both on and off the track. (SIT Photo: Wisely Tan)

Giving Back to the Sport and the Community

Today, Wisely is thankful for the way sports has impacted his life. As a way of giving back, Wisely currently serves as the captain of SIT’s Track & Field team.

“I took on the role because I felt that my experiences on and off the track could benefit our relatively young team – some of whom had little to no competitive experience. But, even more than that, was the opportunity I saw to journey alongside fellow teammates.

For example, I had a teammate who used to struggle with confidence issues. I was able to help him see that past performances did not determine future performance on the track, and that results on the track did not define his worth as an individual. Eventually, he overcame some of the negative emotions and obstacles he was facing. These are really the things that I find most fulfilling as a captain.”


Despite being one of the smallest tertiary-level teams in Singapore, Wisely and his teammates have done SIT proud, consistently ranking alongside bigger and more experienced teams. (Photo: Vroomshoots/Romaine Soh 

Through serving his teammates, Wisely has also experienced the joy and strength that community brings. He shares that in just their second year competing, SIT’s Track & Field team was able to climb the rankings from 9th to 3rd place overall. “And, this was done with us fielding one of the smallest teams. Local sports news media, Red Sports, dubbed us the ‘small but mighty’ team.”

“I believe we were able to achieve this because of our supportive community. All of us are always cheering hard for each other at events. Even when we are competing in individual events, the people around us provide an added boost and a second wind.

Many of us hail from different clubs outside of school, but it is always a special moment when we don the red singlet (SIT singlet) and represent SIT. That really is pride and camaraderie!”

Industry-ready Graduates for a Data-driven World
Only Room For Excellence